The Pirates opened up one of the bigger series of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. There wasn’t much offense through the early innings, and it looked like it might end up as a great pitching duel between A.J. Burnett and Kyle Lohse.
The fourth inning rolled around and the Bucs managed to put up two runs, and force Lohse to throw thirty pitches. Jose Tabata led off with a single and was immediately followed by a Travis Snider base hit. Andrew McCutchen came up with a 2-0 count and drove a changeup into centerfield for a RBI single, giving him his 79th RBI of the season. Garrett Jones was retired for the first out and that brought up Pedro Alvarez, who hit a single to load the bases for Josh Harrison. Harrison pulled a ball towards left field which Matt Holliday made a nice running catch on, but it was still enough to bring in the second run for the Bucs.
Burnett worked very efficiently through four innings throwing 52 pitches, while only allowing one hit, before hitting a speed bump in the fifth. He allowed RBI hits to Skip Schumaker and Lohse, and had to throw 25 pitches. The inning ended with Lohse being gunned down at the plate on a fantastic relay throw from Harrison. Holliday led the sixth inning off with a opposite field solo home run and Yadier Molina contributed with a sacrifice fly.
The game went into a 34-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth, ending both of the starters’ outings. Jared Hughes took over for the Pirates and did pretty well, pitching an inning and a third, while striking out a pair.
Harrison led off the seventh with a single and reached second base on a throwing error by Rafael Furcal. Clint Barmes was able to drive him in with an opposite field double to cut the lead to one; however, Jeff Clement and Jose Tabata were unable to bring in the game-tying run.
Jason Grilli and Tony Watson each pitched scoreless innings but the Pirates were unable to score in the last two frames and lost by a final score of 4-3. Lohse improves to 14-2 and Burnett falls to 15-5 James McDonald is set to pitch against Jake Westbrook tomorrow night, with a 7:05 P.M. start.
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